It’s only Thursday, and it has been a crazy week, legally. First, the Supreme Court made it race-based harassment at work legal. In Vance v. Ball State University, a woman who sued the university because she was physically and mentally abused by an authoritative figure in the job had her case thrown out because the assailant wasn’t a supervisor. In University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centre v. Nassar, retaliation has been made legal when you report discrimination at work.
Then, in Shelby v. Holder, The keystone of the Voting Rights Act was repealed. Now states and counties with a history of disenfranchising certain groups of the population can go ahead and do it again without supervision. Plaintiffs can’t sue against the laws until AFTER an election, when it’s too late. The argument was that the United States has changed in the last 50 years, so we don’t need a law. This ignores that the United States has changed BECAUSE of the law. States and counties that were suspect but had a clean record for 10 years could petition to get off the radar of the Justice Department. The Supreme Court essentially said, “Well, this bus works great now that it has wheels, so let’s take off the wheels. It’ll be fine. Also, f*** the bus driver, and if he complains, let’s fire him.” It’s a bad week to be brown in the US.
On Wednesday, though, the Supreme Court deemed DOMA unconstitutional, and they shot down the Prop 8 case to the circuit court, essentially killing it. Justice Kennedy penned the opinion for US v. Windsor, stating in Section 2 of the Held Opinion that, “DOMA is a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment”. Justice Roberts dissented (p. 31), essentially claiming that the law was passed by Congress, and the Supreme court does not have jurisdiction to overturn something that Congress passed. Ignoring the fact that they JUST did that with the Voting Rights Act and the workplace anti-discrimination act the previous day, overturning something that Congress passes is WHY THE SUPREME COURT EXISTS! It’s called “checks and balances” for a reason. Anyone with a 5th-grade reading level who has actually read the Constitution would know and understand this. I know, because when I was 10, I READ THE F***ING CONSTITUTION. I still had to go to Sunday school, because though my claims of my religious rights being violated fell on deaf ears, but I still read it. Scalia deleted his 4-page “EEEEEEEEEWWWWWWWWWWWW!!” in his 20+ page opinion and brought up a bunch of things about tradition and also respecting the laws of the land (P. 35). He also claimed that the majority justices, with their decision, have deemed opponents of same-sex marriage “hostes humani generis”, or enemies of humanity. No joke. He said that . Page 55. I actually do agree with Scalia on the latin phrase. Anyone who wishes to revoke or keep rights that he/she enjoys away from any group of people is an enemy of the human race. Regardless, DOMA and Prop 8 are essentially down. It is a good day to be gay in the US.
Unfortunately, it is NOT a good day to be gay AND brown. Texas and Virginia and Georgia are already starting to implement restrictive voting laws that were previously shot down, and the ink hasn’t even dried on the SCOTUS opinions. Also, There are still 34 (36?) states that explicitly discriminate against gays with respect to marriage and adoption. There is still a lot of work to do, and it won’t be easy, but it will be worth it when the new Bull Connors of the world are foiled. So it’s great to celebrate the victorious battles, and good to reflect on battles lost, but the road ahead isn’t paved, so stay on point. Stop reading this stupid blog and start a revolution.
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